Arizona Diamondbacks’ Tony La Russa: Yasmany Tomas could hit big league pitching right now
The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Yasmany Tomas to a six-year, $68.5 million contract during the offseason because they believed the Cuban slugger could help their offense.
The 24-year-old hit .257 with two home runs and 12 RBI in 70 spring training at-bats, but was sent to Triple-A Reno to begin the season.
A guest of Bickley and Marotta on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Monday, D-backs chief baseball officer Tony La Russa said there are no concerns about Tomas’ ability to hit big league pitching.
“Oh we felt like he would probably hit better here than he may in Triple-A because he’s not scared of the moment,” La Russa said. “If you think about how little he played last year, and you watched him in spring, he didn’t know any of those guys. Just watch the quality. A few times he went and swung at everything.
“Most of the time he had good patience, he hit with two strikes, used the whole field.”
La Russa said he believes Tomas’ bat could help the D-backs right now, but the problem would have been finding room for it in their lineup. He began spring training at third base, but was beaten out by Jake Lamb for that job. Tomas shifted more to the outfield, but with Ender Inciarte, David Peralta, A.J. Pollock and Mark Trumbo on the big league roster, it would be tough to find playing time for Tomas there, too.
The team elected to send him to the minor leagues, where he will be able to play most nights.
“He’s much better served getting everyday at-bats,” La Russa said. He added that they asked manager Chip Hale how often he thinks Tomas would play if he had made the 25-man roster, and the answer was not enough to warrant keeping him in Phoenix.
“But we expect that he’s going to go to Triple-A and do real well, and you always have a problem, and he’ll be in better playing shape, with timing and everything else if he’s out there getting at bats,” La Russa said. “But the P.S. to that is we’ve got ourselves a guy that’s going to be a productive Major League hitter in a big way.”